by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Ebert’s autobiography, Life Itself, is a terrific read. MH staff recommends.

Starting Five

Fox Hunt

Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox was on his way to a federal courthouse to do what he gets paid to do, shoot photos. Just before he walked inside Fox encountered a shooter of another type. Instead of running, he took the shot of his life.

Fortunately, police gunned down the man as if he were a four year-old who’d stolen a Barbie and no one else was hurt. Also, because he was white, you won’t hear the words “radicalized” or “terrorist” about him from anyone in the White House, if they even mention this incident at all, which they likely will not.

The shooter, a former U.S. Army infantryman, was fatally wounded by police.

Crowd Strike

Hong Kong, which didn’t even make the playoffs

If you’re scoring at home, some two million people in Hong Kong assembled to protest a new bill that would allow mainland China to extradite suspected criminals for trial. Public protesting in Hong Kong is itself a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and yet some two million of the territory’s seven million citizens proudly took that risk.

Toronto, before shots rang out

Meanwhile in Toronto, hundreds of thousands gathered on a sunny and warm Monday to cheer the Raptors’ first NBA championship and watch a parade.

In one of the two mass gatherings, three people were shot (none fatally) and four arrested. We’ll let you guess which gathering (and no, David Ortiz was not at either event).

A New Zodiac Killer (and in the Bay Area, too)

We’re enjoying Ben Mezrich’s book, Bitcoin Billionaires, in which the Winklevi (twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss) disprove F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous dictum that “there are no second acts in American life.”

In fact, what this week’s events prove is that what happened before can and will happen again. In the past week Facebook, founded and still run by Winklevi nemesis Mark Zuckerberg, announced that it is launching its own cryptocurrency exchange named “Libra.” What makes that funny is that the Winklevi launched a cryptocurrency exchange a couple years ago named Gemini.

(For what it’s worth, the Winklevi were born under the sign of Leo, although the Gemini are famous twins in the Zodiac calendar, while Zuckerberg is a Taurus…and probably has never driven one.)

The address of Facebook’s headquarters, no kidding, is 1 Hacker Way

Anyway, you may recall that the Winklevi really did have the idea for Facebook first, but that Zuckerberg had the coding know-how that they lacked and he took their idea and ran with it. A few years later, using the funds they’d gotten from Zuckerberg in the settlement, the Winklevi were very early investors in Bitcoin, definitely the first high-profile investors, and made hundreds of millions as the cryptocurrency went from below $10 per when they bought it to where it is now, more than $9,000 per.

And now here comes Zuckerberg, who has even more money, trying to take over their new corner of the world. Wouldn’t it be funny if somehow he puts them out of business but at the same time is found to have somehow infringed upon their space and has to pay them off bigly in order to rid himself of them yet again?

Worth noting, as reported in Mezrich’s book: the Winklevi only turned to Bitcoin when every Silicon Valley start-up in need of cash turned down their offers of being investors. Reason: most start-ups end-game is to eventually be purchased by Facebook (see: Instagram) and if you’re backed by Winklevi money, there’s no way Zuckerberg is ever going to touch you. In fact, he’d likely actively try to hurt you.

Isn’t irony the best?

Disappearing Act

This is Indian magician Chanchal Lahiri, who over the weekend was chained and bound and lowered into the Hooghly River in order to attempt to replicate Harry Houdini’s famous escape trick.

It either did not go so well or it went even better than planned (as in, not only did Lahiri escape but he also made himself vanish). Alas, the authorities are going with the former and are presuming Lahiri drowned, although his body has yet to be recovered.

Onlookers, which included family and friends, waited a reported 30 minutes before launching a frantic search for Lahiri. Did they think he was a man or a sperm whale?

D-Day, Before We Forget

We forgot to post this incredibly well-done and meticulously reported story from The Atlantic, which first ran in 1960, when we saw it a couple weeks back. If you want to move past the heroic tales and the jingoistic fervor and simply appreciate what a miserable and deadly day D-Day was for countless GIs, read this account by S.L.A. Marshall titled “First Wave at Omaha Beach.”

The story is promoted as an “epic human tragedy” and that about gets it right. It doesn’t make their sacrifices any less significant, but it just goes to show you how cheaply human lives were squandered on that morning.

Paint Misbehavin’

The Birth of Venus

By Sandro Botticelli, mid-1480s.

She’s got it. Yeah, baby, she’s got it. Housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, this is one of the earliest of the great Renaissance works and was likely commissioned by the Medici, since painters at the time needed patrons to survive (apparently there was an internet disruption in the 15th century, too?).

Remote Patrol


8 p.m. AMC

The 2008 movie that was supposed to scare your daughter from ever wanting to summer abroad in Paris (and yet failed spectacularly: look where they’re holding the Women’s World Cup!). I have a particular set of skills is one of the better film lines of this millennium, no?

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Thanks for the D-Day link. I printed it out & will read it tonight. I’m still very bummed that more was not made of the 75th Anniversary on TV & in this country. Without NGC & TCM, there would have been nothing on TV except the couple hours of the LIVE ceremony at the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach, which for me was unwatchable since the SOCIOPATH was in attendance.

    Every time I see D-Day documentaries or just recorded footage from that day, I sit in equal parts amazement, horror, & pride. Which is a weird combination. Of course, as someone who grew up a mere 5 miles from the site of the Battle of Antietam, it also shocks me that there were LESS casualties on D-Day, which involved trying to get 160,000 Allied troops onshore in a severely “hostile environment” than there was at Antietam, 82 years prior & which involved far more rudimentary weapons & about half as many total combatants (both sides) . LESS than HALF the casualties! Still, D-Day was pretty damn horrific. And amazing.

    One thing I learned or re-learned last week (I must have read this long ago & forgot) was that because of the carnage on Omaha Beach & that those troops were “stuck” in place for so long on the beach is that some of the Generals wanted to get those troops BACK TO THE SHIPS & re-deploy them at Gold or Juno Beaches! Luckily, some of the GIs forged ahead & we finally got thru the “wall”.

    I think when most of us watch the footage of those soldiers trying to get onto the beach & then advance, being shot or seeing someone right next to them shot, you think “I could NEVER do that! How/why did these guys do this?!” What kept them moving forward? I think you have to put yourself into the minds of the people at the time, that Europe had been at war for almost 6 long & bloody years & America for 2.5 years & getting on the ground in Europe was mandatory for defeating the biggest threat to democracy, to America & the world. And if we did NOT defeat the Nazis in Europe, the belief was that America would be invaded next. Thus, it was “them” or “us”, right then. Pretty powerful motivation. Still, with bullets whizzing past your head, you’d think the survival instinct would have been equally powerful “motivation”.

    Here’s the bigger question – since all humans & societies “agree” that “war is hell”, why do we still resort to it over & over & over to resolve “problems”? Answer – because there’s no other way to take out a “Hitler”?

  2. Cycling update : another week, another crash for Team Ineos (previously known as Team Sky or, ahem, ‘Team Deathstar’ to we nonfans). Geraint Thomas, last year’s winner of the Tour de France was riding in the OTHER one-week “tune-up” race for the TDF, the Tour de Suisse (AKA “Tour de Susie’ to some folk…) & crashed out of the race earlier today. He was taken to hospital for “medical checks”. By all the sparse accounts available, this was nothing like poor Froomey’s crash last week (btw, who also has “fractures” in his neck) but NO crash is a good crash when trying to get “on form” before the Tour. Gee, it’s looking more & more like Team Ineos is cycling’s version of the Warriors. Supervillains? Check. Major injury to your best player/cyclist? Check. Injury to another major player/cyclist? Check.

    Hopefully, Geraint is just banged-up a bit & will be ok for July. However, anyone planning to “bet the house” on someone from Team Ineos winning this year’s Tour, MAY want to re-think. (Note : Team, ahem, ‘Deathstar’ also has a young Columbian mt goat on their Tour team & while he is still not great at time-trialing, this year’s race features but a small amount of “the race of truth”.) Could the 2nd of this year’s Grand Tours also be won from someone ‘south of the border’? (A 25 yr old from Ecuador won the Giro in May). What’s this – do we hear the folks in Europe wailing “build that wall!”? 😉

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